Letter from Leadership regarding COVID 19 Outbreak

 

To Our Members & Colleagues,

We understand these are challenging times for the practice of Dentistry.  With this in mind, an emergency meeting of the Executive Committees of the Seventh District Dental Society and the Monroe County Dental Society was held on Sunday, March 15th.   The purpose of this meeting was to provide the most up to date information concerning the Corona Virus (COVID 19) outbreak. 

Please view the following sites for the most up to date information:

ADA.org

NYSdental.org/virus

CDC.gov

https://www2.monroecounty.gov/health-coronavirus

For staffing issues, please see federal and state department of labor websites:

https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus

https://www.labor.ny.gov/home/

The following is additional information to help guide you as this situation progresses:

STEPS TO STOP THE TRANSMISSION

Places of employment, including dental facilities, may be ideal for the spread of disease. Below are recommendations for how to stop transmission:

  • Communication with patients and employees
    • Provide training on occupational safety and health (OSHA training) that includes infection prevention, to all new employees and annual training to all employees.
    • Review the proper use and disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE) for all employees.
    • The dental team should advise patients and staff who are experiencing acute respiratory illness, including symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, to remain home and reschedule appointments.
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, proper respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene for all employees:
    • Place posters that encourage correct cough/sneeze etiquette as well as proper hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace.
    • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees and patients.
    • Instruct employees to clean/disinfect their hands between patients with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol. Soap and water should be utilized preferentially if hands are visibly contaminated and must always be used before eating and after toileting
    • Provide soap and water as well as alcohol-based hand rubs in multiple locations throughout the workplace.
    • Advise employees to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Perform environmental surface cleaning and disinfection:
    • It appears that the coronavirus may live on hard surfaces, at room temperature, for several days.
    • Provide disposable disinfectant wipes so that commonly used surfaces (e.g. doorknobs, keyboards, armrests, remote controls, countertops, desks, etc.) may be decontaminated.
    • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning and disinfection is recommended at this time.

We already adhere to standard precautions: can dentists do anything else to prevent transmission in their offices?

Some commonsense recommendations include:

  • Screen patients for international travel, as well as to/from domestic locations of known outbreaks.
  • Screen for signs or symptoms of infection when you update their medical histories.
  • Include temperature readings as part of your routine assessment of the patient prior to performing dental procedures.
  • Make sure the personal protective equipment you are using is appropriate for the procedures performed.
  • Use techniques such as a rubber dam whenever possible to decrease possible exposure to infectious agents.
  • Use high speed evacuation for all dental procedures producing an aerosol.
  • Autoclave your handpieces after each patient.
  • Have your patient rinse with 1% hydrogen peroxide before each appointment. Coronavirus is vulnerable to oxidation; this will reduce the salivary load of oral microbes.
  • Clean and disinfect public areas frequently, including door handles, chairs, and bathrooms.  
  • Adjust reception areas to conform to suggested social distancing.
  • Remove shareable items from reception areas such as magazines and toys.

You will continue to receive information from us as it is received.

Thank you and Stay Well,

Dr. Stephen Burgart, 7DDS President

Dr. Ted Eckermann, MCDS President

Dr. Jay Skolnick, NYSDA Trustee